#1,819 The Christmas Lights (Ben’s 10 Year Edition).

We’re packing our bags and leaving on a jet plane for a few days, so tonight is Ben’s last (and somewhat abbreviated) guest post on our anniversary week. To read about how things were going from my side of the story that night, click here. To find out what happened next, read the rest of the story that I posted in 2010 by clicking here, here and here in that order. Even though it was 10 years ago, we never forget to make a big deal out of this particular week. I don’t even think of our wedding anniversary as such a big deal as this one, and I think it’s because by always remembering why we fell in love in the first place, the fluttery feeling never goes away. 

So it’s Friday morning now, 3 days into life with Erin in it. I had lost my phone, I had kissed her, we got in trouble over curfew, we got our student IDs taken up, I dropped her off, I went home, I went to bed. No text, no phone conversation that lasted until dawn, but I kissed her. For the first night that week, I slept more than a couple of hours.

The next morning was different. I was still in love with college life, but in a strangely different way. By now, I had figured out Erin’s class schedule. I had lost interest in hanging around the humanities building. I just wanted to bump into her outside of the art building.

After classes and lunch, I hung out in the yearbook room while she worked. On Friday afternoons, Jones would turn into a ghost town. I had always hung around campus on weekends, and luckily, Chase was staying this weekend. I would at least be able to call Erin and get her to meet me somewhere or tell her something using his phone if I wanted to.

Eventually, it was time for her to go get ready for the hospital pharmacy Christmas party. Her daddy is a doctor, but as soon as she was old enough to drive he made sure she knew she was old enough to get a job, and in college she worked during the week at Bath and Body Works, and on the weekends she was pulling 12 hour shifts at the hospital… So it’s no surprise that I got myself a job at the hospital in her daddy’s department by January. Anyway, she was going to the party with Charlie because they’d made plans a couple weeks earlier, but I had kissed her. The jealous, boiling, broken-hearted rage I had felt less than 24 hours earlier was gone. I don’t remember if our lips had touched any throughout the day, I suspect they did, but I was sure they would meet again that night. I used Chase’s phone to send a message asking her to meet me at my house after the party. I knew she would, I just had to wait.

She went to the party around 7:00 and by 8:30, I heard a ‘beep beep’ in the driveway of my house. I had showered, put on some warmer clothes, and Lucky You, my cologne since I was 16. I copied my best friend in high school, Javen Ferguson. At the time, we were the only two guys around that wore it. Only certain department stores sold it, and it was about $50 for a 2 ounce bottle. Now, it’s about $20 from Wal Mart. It still smells the same, though.

I got in, and the smell of her perfume was all around me—Simply White from the Gap, the sweetest thing I’d ever smelled. I told her that I would be driving her car tonight. She told me how her night had gone (which you can read here). We were going to try and find some Christmas lights, but mostly we were going to ride around and talk. I adjusted the driver’s seat, I leaned across the armrest, and she leaned towards me. You know what happened next.

We spent the night driving all over Laurel, our future home. We went to 7th Avenue and saw the light display ambling through Mason Park that she’d been visiting every Christmas her entire life, but it was brand new to me. We could’ve been anywhere. We didn’t care about the location, we just wanted to be together. We even passed Erin’s roommate on the side of the road who had run out of gas and didn’t even notice her there. She called us throwing a fit.

We were falling in love, and we hadn’t yet said it out loud for fear of sounding ridiculous. So I gave it 3 more days, then told her so. That seemed less ridiculous. I had never been in love with a girl, but I knew this was it. It would’ve suited me just fine to have spent the rest of my life in that little blue bug, with her green eyes, her short blonde hair, with the smell of Lucky You and Simply White, and with Damien Rice playing the soundtrack. That’s pretty much what we’ve done ever since, with only some variations to the program. That little blue bug is still her go-to vehicle, parked in the garage of the house we own together. We still listen to good music, we still wear Lucky You and Simply White, and we’re still together wherever we go, whenever we go.